The Consumer Electronics Show and North American International Auto Show held this week will see this debut of the next-gen autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid.
The new autonomous Fusion is built on Ford’s previous autonomous platform but features a few upgrades that improve sensing and processing. New computer hardware allows for faster processing speeds, and sensors have been moved and revamped to see around the vehicle more easily.
The Fusion’s new LiDAR sensors were redesigned to have a more targeted field of vision that allows for just two sensors instead of four while taking in the same amount of data. The virtual driver system has also evolved for the new generation.
According to Ford, the autonomous Fusion’s processor will generate a terabyte of data in a single hour, a massive amount that is “more than the average person would use in mobile phone data in 45 years.” The Ford-developed software system then processes the data generated and uses it to tell the car what to do.
Ford’s ultimate goals are to develop a self-driving vehicle that doesn’t require a driver to operate and to make an autonomous vehicle available for sale by 2021. Last August Ford said that unlike most automakers, who believe the auto industry will shift gradually toward autonomous vehicles, Ford believes the entire industry must make the switch in one go.
Depending on where you live and the sort of driving you do, you may or may not need winter tires. Snow tires are great for getting better traction on snow and ice, but they also have their disadvantages.
First of all, if you do live in an area that gets heavy snowfall in the winter, you should seriously consider getting winter tires. Because they’re made of softer material and have specially designed tread to grip onto the slickest surfaces, snow tires can prevent accidents by giving you more stopping power and keeping you from sliding off the road.
Very low temperatures are also a good reason to get winter tires. If you live somewhere northern where it gets extremely cold in the winter, your all-season tires will harden, reducing traction even further. The softer rubber of winter tires stays more pliant.
On the downside, you can’t drive on winter tires all year, so you will have to switch them out when the weather starts to warm up, which can be a hassle. Because of their soft materials, they wear down quickly, and their extra grippiness ruins dry roads.
All-season tires are meant to be driven year-round, and while they aren’t as good as winter tires on snow, they aren’t bad. So—do you need winter tires? If you live in a warmer area or a place with little snowfall, winter tires are probably an unnecessary investment. Otherwise, they’re likely worth the cost.